Residential Perceptions of Environmental Exposures and Associated Health Effects in the Fresno, Texas Community
AbstractBackground: Environmental contaminants are often located in areas heavily populated by African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and the poor. In many communities, the discovery of environmental hazards occurs following concern and investigation by its constituents. The residents of Fresno, Texas, which is a predominantly minority community located near Houston, Texas, have long-standing undocumented concerns related to potential environmental exposures and associated health effects. To begin to document the concerns of the members of the Fresno community, we used focus group methodology to examine the resident’s perceptions of the environment in the Fresno community, potential routes and sources of environmental exposures, and how Fresno residents perceived that these environmental hazards could affect their health. Methods: Focus group methodology was used to assess the Fresno communities’ perceptions of environmental exposure, perceived routes of exposure, and perceived adverse health affects. Nineteen Fresno residents took part in four focus group discussions that were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. Results: The residential participants overwhelmingly described poor water quality in the Fresno community. While some residents perceived that the air quality was good or clear, others described the air as poor or potentially dangerous. Some residents identified the local chemical companies, a landfill, chlorination, and a lack of public water supply as potential sources of contamination in the Fresno community. The residents perceived that environmental exposures could potentially affect their health status, in particular the drinking water. Conclusions: The findings of our study convey the concerns of the members of the Fresno community. Potential environmental exposures were identified along with sources of environmental hazards. Although there were differing perceptions of air quality, the perceptions of water quality and sources of contamination were consistent. These findings should be used in developing a larger-scale environmental health assessment in the Fresno community to examine self-reported health status and measure contaminant levels in the residential drinking water.
How to Cite
King, D. W., Chukelu, P. C., Freelon, B. N., Lewis, A. J., & Jones, L. A. (2007). Residential Perceptions of Environmental Exposures and Associated Health Effects in the Fresno, Texas Community. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 5(SI), 48-57. https://doi.org/10.32398/cjhp.v5iSI.1199